Vespasiano da Bisticci’s Letters are a series of manuscript letters that were sent to and received by Vespasiano da Bisticci (1421–1498), an Italian humanist and librarian, over a time period spanning from 1444 to 1497. Their content focuses mostly on manuscripts and codex trade with other notable people of that time. From the letters it is possible to learn many relevant features of these manuscripts: materials, copyists, costs, but also names of latin, greek and humanistic authors and texts.

A knowledge site of the Letters has been developed in order to facilitate the navigation, study and conservation of such documents, as well as to contextualize them in a semantically-rich and metatextual framework.

The rest of the documentation is organized as follows:

Local setup

The Knowledge site can be processed through node.js, an open source server environment that allows to generate dynamic page content and manipulate data through event-driven, asyncronous management of operations.

The semantic data can be queried via rdflib.js, a library for working with RDF that allows one to read and write code in RDF/XML and other serializations (such as Turtle and N3). This library also allows one to make SPARQL queries.

In order to launch the application locally, you will need a web server (e.g. XAMPP) and node.js.

XAMPP, which includes the Apache web server, can be used to set up a server on a computer. You can download XAMPP here. Run xampp-control.exe as administrator. Click on the Start button next to the Apache module.

Note: do not install XAMPP under C:\Program files on Windows 10, because it may cause problems with permissions later. Put it in root (C:\) instead.

Now you may open a web browser and go to http://localhost:80, or alternatively just http://localhost. You are now in contact with the web server you just installed and started. Locate the htdocs folder of the directory in which XAMPP was installed and place the vespasiano repository inside it (e.g. ../XAMPP/xamppfiles/htdocs/vespasiano). Run the command prompt and move to the vespasiano repository. Then, launch app.js:

>> node app.js

You will be able to visualize the digital edition on any browser at localhost:80.

Note: on some computers, another server may already be listening to port 80. If so, you may need to terminate that server or move the XAMPP server to another port.